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It may sound simplistic, but it kept me wrapped tight around truth when I wanted to let go.

It was not my idea, of course. Sheesh, I’m twenty. I can’t speak a word of understanding life and even begin to sound like I know what I’m talking about. Forget it. There are still years and years of dreadful wading through my own immaturity until I can sit, like she did, and know what to say.

 I met with her to ask for help. Wisdom to point out the path of healing out of the fear and anger and brokenness that I knew was there. I remember the way the light from the window make the tears on her cheeks glisten and how, just like Christ’s pain helps me see my worth, so her tears let me know I wasn’t completely bonkers.

I remember my exact words, asking her, desperate, “What do I do with this? How, how do I let pain be felt and tasted yet still move forward into hope?

Practical. I wanted something to use in everyday life. A way of not deadening the longings, without letting them deaden me.

“Do you journal?” she asked.

Laugher with a touch of bitterness.

“If wouldn’t be for my journal…..”

So she gave me the experiment.

Everyday write the longings, she told me. And then after they are written and the sin-crusted woman inside you knows what she wants to do with them. Then—then write out what you decide to do with them instead.

Taking her advice I started. In black ink they scarred the pages—lies, longings, pain, and anger. Out of the darkness inside they raced out and overwhelmed my hand and often my words slanted longer and wider as I wrote with more emotion.Then after the storm was scribbled, came the decision.

“Yes, this is how I feel, but today, today I’m going to take this pain and…..”

Then the decision was also written in black and so it spoke back. Loud. Firm.

For over a year I tried it.

Pain. Longings. Anger. Frustration. Decision to reach for hope.

Now, a year into the experiment, the struggles still remain, but the bitterness has left in the light of the hope. The hope fills up the page now. And the pain is only the black ink that makes the hope seem more whole, more complete.

It was a simple experiment, from a wise woman.